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Transportation Idle Science

Denver Airport Overrun by Car-Eating Rabbits 278

Posted by samzenpus
from the night-of-the-lepus dept.
It turns out the soy-based wire covering on cars built after 2002 is irresistible to rodents. Nobody knows this better than those unlucky enough to park at DIA's Pikes Peak lot. The rabbits surrounding the area have been using the lot as an all-you-can-eat wiring buffet. Looks like it's time to break out The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

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Denver Airport Overrun by Car-Eating Rabbits

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:14AM (#33895688) Journal
    I played bass with a drummer that lived far out in the country a few years ago. He was having problems with his brand new Matrix car and when we popped the hood, the spark plug cables leading to the distributor caps were gone. Completely.

    Someone was playing a prank on him and I asked him if anyone in his family wanted him stationary for some reason recently. Or perhaps he had upset a neighbor by playing drums late into the night?

    No, he told me, groundhogs stole into his garage and crawled up around the engine manifold and ate the cables. Now that was some Car Talk quality humor. I took him to a salvage yard to pick up used cables on the cheap -- the whole way there he described in great detail a groundhog leaving his garage with cables in tow. I figured he was playing quite the elaborate joke, had done something to the wires himself and was embarrassed to admit it or perhaps took more than just tea when he played drums.

    Guess I owe him an apology.
  • Dear Tires: (Score:5, Funny)

    by halfEvilTech (1171369) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:17AM (#33895742)

    Death awaits you all big nasty pointy teeth.

  • !rodents (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_one_wesp (1785252) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:19AM (#33895794)
    Rabbits are actually lagomorphs, not rodents. I realize that mice are mentioned as a problem too, but the number of references to rabbits as rodents is quite offensive.
  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:24AM (#33895864) Journal
    My stepdaughter had a pet rabbit (horrible pets, btw), and it used to love chewing on our computer wires. Had to patch/replace a number of peripherals over a short period of time. *I hates rabbits.*
    • by BlackSnake112 (912158) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:31AM (#33895998)

      If you let them chew on a cable or wire with a little but of current running through it, the rabbit usually stops chewing on wires. Our family had rabbits as pets for a while. One of them liked to chew wires. He chewed the lamp wires. After the shock, he stopped chewing on the wires. The rabbit was alive (he lived another 9 years). His whiskers were a bit singed and shorter. We did have to replace every lamp cord he got to.

      • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:53AM (#33896480) Journal

        If you let them chew on a cable or wire with a little but of current running through it, the rabbit usually stops chewing on wires. Our family had rabbits as pets for a while. One of them liked to chew wires. He chewed the lamp wires. After the shock, he stopped chewing on the wires. The rabbit was alive (he lived another 9 years). His whiskers were a bit singed and shorter. We did have to replace every lamp cord he got to.

        I've had a different experience. My aunt's rabbit chewed through her refrigerator power cable twice, and one of my rabbits, before she was no longer allowed to roam the house, chewed every cable off the back of a computer (all low-current save the power cable) on two occasions. Thing is: if the appliance isn't drawing power right then, they can chew through with impunity, and even if it *is* drawing power, as long as they only chew through one wire at a time they'll just get a quick shock when they cut that wire. And given how dry a rabbit's mouth is, and that it's cutting through with its non-conductive teeth, they might not even notice. This particular rabbit is smart enough to know the meaning of the word "no" and run over to me when I call her name (which my other rabbit is either too stupid or too uninterested in humans to do) so it's not like she's too dumb to learn about getting shocked. I think she just didn't care or didn't notice, or that she didn't get shocked, since she continued chewing on cords subsequently. Wrapping the cables in split looming that had been sprayed with cayenne pepper did discourage them.

        Even weirder, I had a squirrel nest in my workshop wall, and when I realized it and evicted them, I tore off the siding to see what damage they'd done. They'd stripped all the outer insulation off the romex in the walls, eaten all the paper that lines the bare ground wire, and eaten all the insulation off the white return line, but the black live line only had a few nicks in the insulation, so either the black vinyl doesn't taste good or squirrels are smarter than rabbits. Of course, they had to live in physical contact with the wires, while the rabbits were just chewing on them occasionally. But with that said, I'm betting squirrels are smarter than rabbits.

        As for the article itself, it's not just the DIA parking lot. My girlfriend's work car, a PT Cruiser, had most of the engine wiring eaten by rats while sitting overnight at her workplace in downtown Denver, while they completely ignored her (pre-2002) Subaru. It was startlingly expensive to get that car rewired, and apparently it was by no means just the spark plug wiring.

        • by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @12:09PM (#33896812)

          Thing is: if the appliance isn't drawing power right then, they can chew through with impunity, and even if it *is* drawing power, as long as they only chew through one wire at a time they'll just get a quick shock when they cut that wire. And given how dry a rabbit's mouth is, and that it's cutting through with its non-conductive teeth, they might not even notice.

          That's not how electricity works -- the hot wire is hot regardless of whether or not the appliance is drawing power.

          There are 3 wires in your refrigerator's power cord -- the ground wire (which the rabbit can suck on all day with no ill effect), the neutral wire, which is bonded to the ground wire at the distribution panel, so it should be at the same potential as the ground wire in a properly wired house, and the third wire is the hot wire. This is the one with the juice and the one that will cause a shock regardless of whether or not the appliance is running or not.

          Of course, in an outlet controlled by a switch, the hot wire will not be energized if the switch is off (again assuming a properly wired house - some amateur electricians have been known to put the switch on the neutral side).

          • lots of lamps have their switch on the cable, so the portion between the switch and the lamp works exactly as the switch controlled-outlet.
            so the parent is right : as long as the lamp is off (=the loop isn't closed) Mr. Rabbit is safe. And if he managed to short the exposed wires during his meal, you're going to discover some sparkling surprise next time you turn on the switch.

            • by hawguy (1600213)

              lots of lamps have their switch on the cable, so the portion between the switch and the lamp works exactly as the switch controlled-outlet.
              so the parent is right : as long as the lamp is off (=the loop isn't closed) Mr. Rabbit is safe. And if he managed to short the exposed wires during his meal, you're going to discover some sparkling surprise next time you turn on the switch.

              Except that he's talking about a refrigerator and specifically said appliance not lamp:

              My aunt's rabbit chewed through her refrigerator power cable twice, and one of my rabbits, before she was no longer allowed to roam the house, chewed every cable off the back of a computer (all low-current save the power cable) on two occasions. Thing is: if the appliance isn't drawing power right then, they can chew through with impunity

              I've never seen a refrigerator with an inline switch in the power cord.

          • Thing is: if the appliance isn't drawing power right then, they can chew through with impunity, and even if it *is* drawing power, as long as they only chew through one wire at a time they'll just get a quick shock when they cut that wire. And given how dry a rabbit's mouth is, and that it's cutting through with its non-conductive teeth, they might not even notice.

            That's not how electricity works -- the hot wire is hot regardless of whether or not the appliance is drawing power.

            There are 3 wires in your refrigerator's power cord -- the ground wire (which the rabbit can suck on all day with no ill effect), the neutral wire, which is bonded to the ground wire at the distribution panel, so it should be at the same potential as the ground wire in a properly wired house, and the third wire is the hot wire. This is the one with the juice and the one that will cause a shock regardless of whether or not the appliance is running or not.

            That's not how electricity works. The hot wire is hot regardless, but if nothing is drawing power, you can cut the hot wire with impunity. You can grab it and lick it, and your body will run up to 110V but if there isn't a path to ground, there isn't any current flow. Here's a great video [youtube.com] about a guy who works on high voltage lines, who is crawling along an uninsulated million volt line, working on it, because there's no ground return path so he's fine.

            If you don't believe me try it out yourself. You c

          • Most of the world does not have a neutral line, but two hot lines.

          • by denobug (753200)

            Thing is: if the appliance isn't drawing power right then, they can chew through with impunity, and even if it *is* drawing power, as long as they only chew through one wire at a time they'll just get a quick shock when they cut that wire. And given how dry a rabbit's mouth is, and that it's cutting through with its non-conductive teeth, they might not even notice.

            That's not how electricity works -- the hot wire is hot regardless of whether or not the appliance is drawing power.

            There are 3 wires in your refrigerator's power cord -- the ground wire (which the rabbit can suck on all day with no ill effect), the neutral wire, which is bonded to the ground wire at the distribution panel, so it should be at the same potential as the ground wire in a properly wired house, and the third wire is the hot wire. This is the one with the juice and the one that will cause a shock regardless of whether or not the appliance is running or not.

            Of course, in an outlet controlled by a switch, the hot wire will not be energized if the switch is off (again assuming a properly wired house - some amateur electricians have been known to put the switch on the neutral side).

            Well guess which color of the hot wire's insulation is? It is the black wire that white raddit don't want to chew on!

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        spray or rub the wires with capcasian.. works great.

        Honestly why dont car wires made from eco-garbage like soy have this already embedded in it?

      • by Abcd1234 (188840)

        If you let them chew on a cable or wire with a little but of current running through it, the rabbit usually stops chewing on wires. Our family had rabbits as pets for a while. One of them liked to chew wires. He chewed the lamp wires. After the shock, he stopped chewing on the wires.

        And that, dear friends, is why most people shouldn't be allowed to own pets in general, and rabbits in particular.

        There's a process *all* prospective rabbit owners should go through before bring a rabbit into their home, and it'

    • by Kenshin (43036)

      I can't even count how many wires and cables I've had to patch-up due to my girlfriend's rabbits. They nearly ate through my MacBook Pro's power cable, which would cost more to replace than the two of them were to buy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tetsujin (103070)

      My stepdaughter had a pet rabbit (horrible pets, btw), and it used to love chewing on our computer wires.

      Horrible pets? How can you say that? They're such sweet animals... They're very affectionate and playful and clean, and chewing things is just about the only kind of mischief they get into...

      The trick with the wires is to bunny-proof spaces where the rabbits will be out. Make the cords inaccessible.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)

        Yeah, but that requires, like, work and stuff! I want to just get a rabbit around easter time, throw it in a cage, and then forget about it! Isn't that what pets are for?

    • This [python.org] will surely get your computer rid of rabbits.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by AmishElvis (1101979)
      sounds wascally
    • by xgr3gx (1068984)

      Elmer Fudd might have been on to something. Who wants some nice soy fed rabbit meat?

      • by nbauman (624611)

        I finally understood what was going on between Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny when my cousin planted a vegetable garden and got cleaned out by the rabbits.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by davidbrit2 (775091)

      My stepdaughter had a pet rabbit (horrible pets, btw)...

      I wouldn't go that far. They are horrible pets for children, simply because of stark personality incompatibilities, but I have two rabbits that are both extremely friendly. A lot of people think they're just getting a cat with long ears, when in fact the differences are much deeper. Rabbits are definitely higher maintenance, as they tend to be somewhat messy, and can develop destructive habits (digging, chewing) if not supervised closely and kept away

      • by Abcd1234 (188840)

        I wouldn't go that far. They are horrible pets for children, simply because of stark personality incompatibilities, but I have two rabbits that are both extremely friendly. A lot of people think they're just getting a cat with long ears, when in fact the differences are much deeper.

        Absolutely.

        The real problem is that when someone says "horrible pet", they mean "horrible pet because it's not like a dog or cat". They can't grasp the concept of being the caretaker for an animal simply for the sake of it.

        Rabbi

    • by nbauman (624611)

      Cover the exposed bottom of your car with rabbit wire.

      There is such a thing as rabbit wire, right?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by KshGoddess (454304)

        Yes. [bassequipment.com]

        I can't believe this would work for your car engine while you park it, nor would I think that most people want to add several pounds of galvanized wire to the underside of their cars.

  • Strange that the airport doesn't think that rodents are to blame; apparently they prefer the idea that they offer no security and people come and randomly damage/steal wiring from cars parked in their lot.

    I passed through DIA a couple weeks ago, and I can tell you that the bunny rabbits hardly chewed on my wires at all.

  • What happened in 2002? Did Warren Buffet invest in automotive wiring companies??
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by nanoflower (1077145)
      I think the green attitude took over the car industry. I was just reading an article talking about how various manufacturers are starting to use more green products in automobiles including using bamboo and coconut fibers for car seats. Ford is looking at using a soy based foam to extrude for car seats. So you could imagine coming back and finding the wires, seats and anything else non metallic is gone from your car after going on an extended trip. Here's another article about the kind of problems these cr
  • Hungry Red Necks means fewer rabbits....

  • Call Brother Maynard!!!
  • Ferreting! Even if the ferrets don't catch the rabbits, the scent will often chase the rabbits away.

    • by NevarMore (248971)

      But how do you then get rid of the ferrets?

      • by txoof (553270)

        Skinner: We unleash wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes. They'll wipe out the ferrets.

        Lisa: But aren't the snakes even worse?

        Skinner: Yes, but we're prepared for that. We've lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat.

        Lisa: But then we're stuck with gorillas!

        Skinner: No, that's the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Or, you know, put in a tighter fence for the bottom 3 feet of the fence. Be sure it goes 8 inches into the dirt.

  • This mother fucker [google.com] is the one possessing these bunnies to do such nefarious deeds. The damn thing already killed [thedenverchannel.com] the guy who sculpted it.

    If you come to Denver, find a Raider fan, they will protect you.

  • TFA consists of two paragraphs summarizing the video clip included in TFS. So... yeah. Don't bother.
  • Just hire this dude [wikimedia.org].

  • by xerx (63759) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:53AM (#33896472)
    In this case it is black vultures who eat the soft rubber door seals and whipper blades. One of the main tourist attractions near the south west entrance of the national park has a roust of them close to the parking lot. I have witnessed them tearing chunks of rubber from cars. At times there are dozens of birds in the parking lot and hundreds in nearby trees.

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/meals-on-wheels-vultures-in-everglades-feast-on-529072.html [palmbeachpost.com]

  • This does suggest that widespread use of soy or hemp-based plastics would be even more eco-friendly than previously thought. They'll not only decompose faster and more thoroughly than petro-plastics, but that process is actively assisted by the local fauna!

  • 3 sir!

    3!

  • Sure, go ahead and use the Holy Hand Grenade. Just be sure to have your mail forwarded to Guantanamo Bay, which is where you'll end up after the TSA gets done with you.

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